System tray applications (or menu bar applications) can be useful for making common functions or information available in a small number of clicks. For full desktop applications they're a useful shortcut to control apps without opening up the whole window.
Qt provides a simple interface for building cross-platform system tray (Windows) or menu bar (MacOS) apps.
Below is a minimal working example for showing an icon in the toolbar/system tray with a menu. The action in the menu isn't connected and so doesn't do anything yet.
from PyQt5.QtGui import * from PyQt5.QtWidgets import * app = QApplication() app.setQuitOnLastWindowClosed(False) # Create the icon icon = QIcon("icon.png") # Create the tray tray = QSystemTrayIcon() tray.setIcon(icon) tray.setVisible(True) # Create the menu menu = QMenu() action = QAction("A menu item") menu.addAction(action) # Add a Quit option to the menu. quit = QAction("Quit") quit.triggered.connect(app.quit) menu.addAction(quit) # Add the menu to the tray tray.setContextMenu(menu) app.exec_()
You'll notice that there isn't a
QMainWindow, simply because we don't actually have any window to show. You can create a window as normal without affecting the behaviour of the system tray icon.
You'll need an icon for this example — I recommend the fugue icon set.
The default behaviour in Qt is to close an application once all the active windows have closed. This won't affect this toy example, but will be an issue in application where you do create windows and then close them. Setting `app.setQuitOnLastWindowClosed(False)` stops this and will ensure your application keeps running.
The provided icon shows up in the toolbar (you can see it on the left).
The system tray icon shown on the menu bar (as a poo emoticon)
Clicking on the icon shows the added menu.
System tray icon with menu expanded
This application doesn't do anything yet, so in the next part we'll expand this example to create a mini colour-picker.
The complete guide to building GUI applications with PyQt5. From the basics of creating a desktop window to the key features you need to build real apps.
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Below is a more complete working example using the built in
QColorDialog from Qt to give a toolbar accessible color picker. The menu lets you choose to get the picked color as HTML-format
from PyQt5.QtGui import * from PyQt5.QtWidgets import * app = QApplication() app.setQuitOnLastWindowClosed(False) # Create the icon icon = QIcon("color.png") clipboard = QApplication.clipboard() dialog = QColorDialog() def copy_color_hex(): if dialog.exec_(): color = dialog.currentColor() clipboard.setText(color.name()) def copy_color_rgb(): if dialog.exec_(): color = dialog.currentColor() clipboard.setText("rgb(%d, %d, %d)" % ( color.red(), color.green(), color.blue() )) def copy_color_hsv(): if dialog.exec_(): color = dialog.currentColor() clipboard.setText("hsv(%d, %d, %d)" % ( color.hue(), color.saturation(), color.value() )) # Create the tray tray = QSystemTrayIcon() tray.setIcon(icon) tray.setVisible(True) # Create the menu menu = QMenu() action1 = QAction("Hex") action1.triggered.connect(copy_color_hex) menu.addAction(action1) action2 = QAction("RGB") action2.triggered.connect(copy_color_rgb) menu.addAction(action2) action3 = QAction("HSV") action3.triggered.connect(copy_color_hsv) menu.addAction(action3) quit = QAction("Quit") quit.triggered.connect(app.quit) menu.addAction(quit) # Add the menu to the tray tray.setContextMenu(menu) app.exec_()
As in the previous example there is no
QMainWindow for this example. The menu is created as before, but adding 3 actions for the different output formats. Each action is connected to a specific handler function for the format it represents. Each handler shows a dialog and, if a color is selected, copies that color to the clipboard in the given format.
As before, the icon appears in the toolbar.
Color-picker icon on the Mac menu bar (left hand side)
Clicking the icon shows a menu, from which you can select the format of image you want to return.
Options to return chosen colour (hex, RGB or HSV)
Once you've chosen the format, you'll see the standard Qt color picker window.
PyQt provides access to system dialogs, such as this Mac colour picker
Select the colour you want and click OK. The chosen colour will be copied to the clipboard in the requested format. The formats available will product the following output:
#a2b3cc # range 00-FF rgb(25, 28, 29) # range 0-255 hsv(14, 93, 199) # range 0-255
Suggestions for improvements
One simple and nice improvement would be to make the previously-selected colours available to re-copy in other formats. You could do this by storing the colour result value from the existing menu. Then add 3 more options, which show (on the menu) their return values — clicking these just copies that value to the clipboard.